House of Commons inquiry details how Donald Trump’s message inspired far-right to march on Washington

The message is considered a “Calling the Force”. A congressional hearing to determine Donald Trump’s role in the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol on Tuesday, July 12, sought to demonstrate how a tweet from the billionaire prompted the far-right to coordinate its attack on Washington. Violently contest the outcome of the presidential election.

The focus of the investigators’ presentation during this seventh hearing was this message from the former businessman on Twitter – his favorite megaphone at the time – on December 19, 2020, in which he called for a rally in the US capital. On the day of Joe Biden’s winning certificate:

A massive demonstration in Washington on January 6. Hang in there, it’s going to be crazy!

“The tweet served as a call to action and, in some cases, a call to arms for loyal supporters of President Trump.”said Democrat-elect Stephanie Murphy.

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“A Violent Militant”

Supporting videos and montages, the commission described how radio hosts, YouTubers and conservative personalities immediately published Donald Trump’s call. Even one of them mentions the possibilities“Manage” Capital. Even Donald Trump’s message “He electrified and emboldened his supporters, especially dangerous extremist groups like the Oath Keepers, the Proud Boys, and other groups of racists and white nationalists who were willing to fight against the government.”Democrat-elect Jamie Raskin charged.

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A panel of elected officials has described how these radical groups coordinated before January 6 through encrypted messaging and online forums. And has frequent exchanges with Roger Stone, a close friend of Donald Trump. “They don’t like to call themselves a militia, but they”said Jason Van Datenhove, a former spokesman for Oath Keepers “It is a violent militia. »

Arriving in the US capital in paramilitary gear, the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys quickly became the interest of federal prosecutors. Several of their members have been charged in recent months “treason”A very rare charge involving conspiracy against the government or its laws.

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“I felt blindsided”

Jan. 6, 2021 Rioter Stephen Ayers speaks with Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn after testifying before a House investigative committee on July 12, 2022, in Washington.

A congressional panel received testimony Tuesday from a repentant Trump supporter who walked into the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, after losing his job and being forced to sell his home. “It changed my life, definitely not for the better”Stephen Ayers, who went to apologize to several police officers injured during the Capitol storm at the end of the trial, said.

He described being absorbed by Donald Trump’s statements, which, without evidence, claimed the election was rigged. “Stolen”. “It felt like the horses had blinders on. I was locked up the whole time.”, who is due to go on trial in September after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor during the riot, has pleaded guilty. He is one of about 840 people charged with federal crimes related to the Jan. 6 attack — more than 330 of whom have pleaded guilty, most of which carry sentences of more than a year in prison, and more than 200 have been convicted.

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Stephen Ayers said he believes Donald Trump will join him when he goes to the Capitol and there is still a chance the election could be annulled. He described himself as a loyal follower of the former US president on social media and had no intention of attacking the Capitol before Donald Trump’s news. “Make everyone angry”.

“Basically we followed what he said.”He agreed. “I hung on every word he said.”he added. “Whenever he came out, I followed him. »

When Donald Trump tweeted asking the rioters to leave, Mr. Ayers said. If the former President had done this earlier today, “Maybe we won’t be in such a bad situation”Mr Ayers said.

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Asked by Representative Liz Cheney whether he still believed the election was rigged, Mr Ayers replied: “Not so much now. »

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Importance of midterm elections

The commission wanted to finally eliminate the possibility that Donald Trump could have been manipulated by anyone in his machinations to change the outcome of the 2020 election.

“President Trump is a 76-year-old man, not an impressionable child.”Elected Liz Cheney is one of the few Republicans who has agreed to sit on the commission. Donald Trump cannot shirk responsibility by being willfully blindAt a time when some are calling for the former president to be impeached for his post-election machinations, he warned.

The Republican billionaire, who is openly flirting with the idea of ​​running for president in 2024, strongly condemned the commission’s work, calling out its members on Tuesday. “Politicians” And “Thugs”.

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His party, which he still controls with an iron fist, has already vowed to bury the commission’s results if the Conservatives take control of the House of Representatives during November’s mid-term legislative elections.

Le Monde with AP and AFP

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